Yorkshire will once again be the centre of the cycling universe in September as the county hosts the 2019 UCI Road World Championships. We’ve tasked Nick Howes with telling us just how big a coup this is and why we should be excited.
While football fans might describe the Tour de France as the Champions League of cycling, the UCI Road World Championships could easily be likened to the World Cup where riders represent their countries and battle it out for one of the biggest prizes in the sport – the iconic rainbow jersey.
While riders only enjoy a brief stint in the yellow jersey whilst leading the Tour de France, the winner of the rainbow jersey gets to wear that particular garment for a full year of competition. The jersey itself is striking – bright white with five horizontal bands representing the UCI colours around its chest.
The colours (blue, red, black, yellow and green) are the same as those which appear in the rings on the Olympic flag and even after the rider has relinquished his or her jersey at the end of their 12-month reign, they will be able to don the rainbow bands on the sleeves and collars of their regular team kit for the remainder of their career. The Road World Championships are taking place between 22-29 September with 11 races over eight days of competition for Junior (U18), Under 23 and Elite athletes. In order to encompass as much of the county as possible, Bradford, Doncaster, Leeds, Northallerton, Richmond and Ripon will each host race starts but every event on the programme will culminate in Harrogate - the main competition town. Three different types of cycling are on offer – mass road races, individual time trials and for the first time ever, a mixed team time trial relay (see opposite page for more information).
If that wasn’t enough, a ground-breaking para-cycling event will also take place the day before the Championships kick off on Saturday 21 September with races starting in Beverley, Tadcaster, Wetherby and Harrogate and all culminating on the same finish line along Parliament Street. This is set to be one of the largest para-cycling events ever held and it will act as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games – guaranteeing another world-class field.
These Championships aren’t just for cycling purists however, there are a whole host of other attractions being laid on to ensure everyone has fun.
The Fanzone on Harrogate’s world-famous Stray will feature a giant stage and a wide variety of performers that will wow the crowds when they’re not engrossed in the action.
Never before will Yorkshire have experienced such a party! Over three million fans are set to descend on the county and they will be joined by approximately 7,000 riders, support staff and delegates from every corner of the globe. Everywhere you look there’ll be people sporting their national kit and Yorkshire will be awash with colour.
And while the host towns are the obvious place to base yourself if you do fancy sampling what this fantastic event has to offer, we’d also suggest spending some time along the race routes where you’ll be able to watch the riders doing their thing at amazingly close quarters. That’s the great thing about cycling – in no other sport can you get within touching distance of the world’s best athletes as they are actually competing – and it’s all absolutely free!
The climbs are the obvious place to start as that’s where the riders will be at their slowest, grinding their way past you with pain etched on their faces and sweat barrelling from their brows. Kidstones Bank on the Men’s Junior Road Race is one particularly tough ascent, while Greenhow, Norwood Edge and Lofthouse (which feature on the Men’s Under 23 Road Race and Women’s Elite Road Race respectively) will even strike fear into the most experienced riders. If the 2014 Tour de France is anything to go by too, the Men’s Elite peloton will struggle to pick their way through the throngs of people as they battle their way up to the summits at Cray, Buttertubs and Grinton Moor.
Wherever you base yourself though, you’re sure to be in for a warm welcome. Every village, town and city along the race routes will be swathed in the rainbow bands, so make sure you get yourself out around the county and join in the fun!
This article was taken from This is Y 2019.